Open Rants by Steeler17

Grades for the 2017 Draft
Published at 5/1/2017
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Millen  Bill

With the 2017 draft in the book, the Steelers walked away with 8 new players that should add new elements to this contending team. While this draft class has received mixed views, there are some really talented players that have been added to the Steelers ranks. While it is pointless to give definite grades right now, I'm going to still do it based off of need, fit, and projected value. 

Round 1: TJ Watt, OLB, Wisconson

Everyone seems pretty happy with this pick, but I'm a little skeptical. Watt is oozing potential, but he only started one year while the question remains if he is athletic enough to contribute as an OLB. His name helped his cause I believe. Lastly, I would have gone after secondary here with a player like Budda Baker or Kevin King. They would have been better value than Watt, and there were plenty of quality options at OLB in the second round. That being said, learning behind Deebo and his bloodlines, TJ is in a great spot to succeed. He fills a huge need, but he may take a year or two to develop into what we want. I would expect him to see limited playing time his rookie year, similar to Dupree (who saw more playing time in the latter half of the year). Grade: B

Stat projections: 25 tackles, 3 sacks

Round 2: JuJu Smith-Shuster, WR, USC

This pick was met with a lot of heat initially by Steelers fans, myself included, but upon further meditation, I really like this pick. JuJu looks like a Pittsburgh receiver, sure handed, physical, and willing to do the dirty work. He instantly upgrades the slot position, taking over where Eli left off. Unlike Eli though, JuJu seems more athletic and a better red-zone threat. Even better, if an injury occurs to AB or Bryant, JuJu can shift out there and let Eli take the slot back over. He makes our receivers scary and versatile. He was also nice value in the late second. Look for him to be the most productive rookie on the team. Grade: A-

Stat projections: 700 yds, 6 TDs

Round 3: Cam Sutton, CB, Tennessee

While the fan base was clamoring for secondary help earlier, Sutton was ultimately scooped up in the third round. While there were many CB/S draft darlings, Sutton isn't a bad pick. While he didn't test well, he shows very good coverage skills. He is physical and has decent hands. His value was right in the third, but this was a deep class at CB so he could easily better than his draft position. As for contributions, I'm sure he will see the field, but it will probably be sporadic. He could lock down the Nickel spot, but Coty, Gay, and Golson are also there. Cockrell and Burns will work the outside, the slot and Nickel will be one of those four. Sutton could honestly work like Davis did last year, playing multiple positions to see where he fits best at. Grade: B

Stat projections: 15 tackles

Round 3c: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh

Ok, ok, he was a reach in the third, but the Steelers really wanted him and he was not going to be there in the 4th (I didn't think so at least). While his value is questionable, you can't help but love this guy. Big and powerful, he should be a wonderful compliment to Bell. While the Steelers don't usually give Bell a breather, I think Conner will change that. I see Conner as a 4th quarter back in the mold of Jerome Bettis. You walk into the fourth quarter with a 7 point lead, and you alternate drives between Conner and Bell. Conner can bully and bruise a defense. Great story, character, and ability, don't sleep on this kid. Grade: B

Stat projection: 400 yards, 5 TD's

Round 4: Josh Dobbs, QB, Tennessee

I really didn't want a QB in this draft, but I like Dobbs the most of any QB not taken in the first. He has starter potential (although I think he turns into a backup ultimately). He shouldn't see any playing time, as he will likely be the third string QB. Good arm and athleticism, he has potential. Is he the heir to Ben, no, but he should be able to overtake Landry in due time. That being said, using a 4th on a player that seems destined to be a backup hurts his grade. Grade: C+

No Stats

Round 5: Brian Allen, CB, Utah

Allen looks like a legit player, with a great build along with good athleticism. Unfortunately, he is raw in every aspect of his game, and has a long road before he contributes. I'm not sure he makes the roster, but I don't know if he'll last on the PS. If he develops, he could be a stud, but that is a major if. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he never plays a legitimate snap for this team, but his potential in the 5th makes him worth the pick. Grade: B-

No Stats

Round 6: Colin Holba, *sigh* LS, Louisville

There isn't much to say about this pick. Holba will be a fine long snapper and will probably be a starter for 10+ years. That being said, he is a long snapper, and had no reason to go in the 6th. I won't fail it, as he should be a Steeler for a long time, but he didn't warrant the pick.

No Stats

Round 7: Keion Adams, OLB/ILB, Western Michigan

A good way to end the draft, as Adams has gobs of potential. He is explosive and shows traits of a quality pass rusher. He does need refinement, but out of all the players drafted on the third day (minus Holba), I think Adams has the best chance to see playing time. He could easily be a special team gunner which is needed considering DHB is a likely cut due to a competitive WR depth chart. Likewise, Adams could easily develop into a sound backup and even a spot starter. Great value on a great player. Grade: A

Stat projection: 5 tackles (Special Teams)

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